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Get More Out Of Your Affiliate Promotions

Get More Out Of Your Affiliate Promotions

ShareASale is an Industry Champion Member of the Performance Marketing Association. This article originally appeared in FeedFront Magazine, Issue 24.
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If you are an affiliate program manager, you know that one of the biggest challenges is activating your affiliate base. You may have 1,000 affiliates but only see sales generated from a handful of them.

Sound familiar? Fear not, you are not alone. There is always going to be some level of inactivity, but you should strive to increase the percentage of active affiliates. The solution: create enticing promotions.

One common bonus structure that merchants offer is the top earner promotion, where the affiliate that drives the most sales, gets x dollar bonus. If the intention is to motivate inactive affiliates or move the middle, there are two issues with this kind of structure, the default winner and perceived unattainability.

Default Winner

The theory of “When I offer more, affiliates will do more” does not apply when there is a blanket incentive. There is always going to be a first and last place. The affiliate that is your top earner may be earning the bonus without actually increasing any activity or marketing effort. When that happens, they are essentially earning extra cash accidently.

Perceived Unattainability

Another unintentional side effect of top tier bonus goals is they will seem out of reach for the mid-tier affiliates. Affiliates do not know the performance numbers of others or even how many affiliates are in your program. There is no sense of what the bar is, or what competition they are up against. Spending your marketing budget on first place bonuses is not the best way to measure or generate activity.

The Solution: Personal Performance Goals

If the intention is to get a higher percentage of affiliate partners active, create promotions that generate immediate action without the intimidation factor of competing with top earners.

If a bonus is created as a personal competition, that will motivate affiliates on an individual level. Let me give you a few examples:

  • Increase conversion rate by .5% this month, earn additional 2% commission
  • Increase orders by 10% month/month, earn $100
  • Generate 15 sales via the Thanksgiving banner, earn double commission in December
  • Sell 20 turkey hats, receive a hat-a-month for a year

Working on an individual level may only return a few sales initially, but over time this will pay off in the long run because the affiliate will always remember you and want to continue to promote your program. There is a long tail effect here.

Having a VIP commission level or higher payout for top earners is not always a bad idea; it just should not be the only trick in your hat. Save some marketing budget for promotions that apply to the whole affiliate base.

The goal is to have a diverse offering of incentives that will both reward your top performers and continue to engage the low to mid-level performers as well.

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